How to Control their Temper Tantrums in Public
July 28, 2014  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

All parents fret the temper tantrum moment in public. Child psychologists believe children don’t always have temper tantrums because they want to manipulate you or because they’re bad. Children usually have temper tantrums because they have no other way to vent their frustrations. They don’t have the necessary vocabulary to explain how and why they are feeling. So, the next time your child has a temper tantrum in public, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Stay Calm

The worst thing you can do when your child has a temper tantrum is raising your voice. What your child needs is an example of calmness. If you can’t do it,  how do you expect your child to do so? Take a deep breath before you answer and follow these simple steps.

Identifying the Problem

A temper tantrum doesn’t imply “getting what you want”. It can be a consequence of feeling frustrated, tired, hungry or even a way to get your attention.

If your child is hungry or tired, make sure he eats and gets some rest. If it’s because he’s scared or frustrated, calm him down. If he feels ignored, try spending more time with him by playing or reading together. Once you´ve identified the problem, the temper tantrums usually dissolve.

Establish Cause and Effect

If you child wants an ice cream but it’s almost dinnertime, explain this to him nicely. “We’re about to have dinner now. Calm down, eat your dinner and we´ll have ice cream afterwards.” Keep firm and explain the options. If he doesn´t calm down, he´ll have to make use of time-out until he does. As soon as he calms down, make sure you reinforce his good behaviour.

If he keeps it up, show him his bad behaviour has consequences. You can have him stay in his room until he´s ready to behave. The sooner you do this, the better. It´s easier with a 2 year old than an 8 year old.

No Awards

If you don’t solve the temper tantrum problem, your child will eventually use it to manipulate you. It’s advisable not to buy him out with awards or presents. When you’re in public, never allow him to behave badly. If you don’t put an end to this at an early age, it’ll probably get out of hand.


Dangerous Objects

Some children can get out of control. To avoid having him hurt himself, remove dangerous objects and firmly take him to another room or outside. Remember to talk things over and try calming him down.

Don´t Reason

While your child is having a temper tantrum, don’t try reasoning with him. He needs to vent his frustrations first. Once he’s calm, help him explain what’s happening by saying: “You must be tired or hungry after this long day” or ”You must be mad because I’m not giving you what you want.”

Not only will you help your child identify the problem, but you will also be teaching him to verbalize his feelings. If you empathize with him, this will also teach him to place himself in other people’s shoes.


Even though you should avoid reasoning with your child during a temper tantrum, it’s important to talk about it once he’s calmed down. Explain how his bad behaviour affects everyone around him and that its unacceptable. However, he should know that he can count on you when he feels troubled. If he still doesn´t listen, read these tips.

No Punishing

Never react by punishing your child. This will only make him think you do not control your emotions and there will be no room for him to vent his frustrations.  Remember, the way our children act and react have a lot to do with your own behaviour.

If he keeps it up, try ignoring him until he calms down.

What do you do when your children have temper tantrums in public?

Photo Credits: Halal

Photo Credits: Ellyn


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